WINTER is, as far as I'm concerned, the best time to be in Scotland.
Early-morning mist turns familiar surroundings into picturesque landscapes, and rain-soaked pavements double the number of lights twinkling in the streets. While most people are grumbling about delayed trains and freezing digits, I'm donning my hat and mittens ready for whatever the Caledonian chill sends my way.
Having spent the last three months in London, I was inconsolable when I found out they don't have winter. Instead, December and January become a slightly colder version of summer, while the mere mention of snow sends people rushing out to stockpile thermal underwear and the transport systems into a panic. In London a scarf is an accessory, in Scotland it's a necessity.
Scottish weather is unique. Nowhere else in the world can say that a day is dreich; that combination of light drizzle and heavy, damp fog that makes all your clothes need an hour on the radiator after a ten minute walk. To everyone else it's just fog – impenetrable and grey.
Weather warnings are so commonplace that here they're met with a roll of the eyes. Rather than succumb to the threat of 80mph gales, people put on their raincoats, knot their scarves and get on with it.
There are so many benefits to a Scottish winter; every downhill slope is turned into a sledging wonderland after just two inches of snow and the sound of rain on the window makes you feel smug that you're warm inside the house. There's no better way to bring in the New Year than by wrapping yourself in a duvet and watching a repeat of The Sons of Katie Elder. Aye, the weather outside may be frightful, but central heating is delightful.
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